Under Jim Gallagher, monthly sales have roughly doubled since last fall at Mount Kisco Honda in Bedford Hills, N.Y., a hamlet about 50 miles north of New York City.
"We're now selling 135 to 150 cars per month," new and used combined, Gallagher said. That's up from 65 to 70 when he joined the Honda store in October. Soon, Gallagher said he hopes to average 200 vehicle sales a month.
Central to Gallagher's strategy, he said, is so-called market-based pricing, or using software to monitor and to undercut competitors' pricing. "I'm looking for volume, not four or five grand per car," he said.
Gallagher also launched what he called a "hard turn" policy on used vehicles, aimed at moving the metal after no more than 60 days on the lot -- even if it means shaving margins.
When time is up, he said his policy is to offer the vehicles at reduced prices for another seven to 10 days. After that, auctions are a last resort.
"If I can get that money from a retail customer, I'll see that customer again, for service, and hopefully for another car down the road. If I send it to the auction, I'm never going to see that car again. I'd rather gain a customer than gain nobody," Gallagher said.
Separately, profit per vehicle retailed in the finance and insurance office has more than doubled. He ascribes the improvement to training and improved procedures.
To match the greater volume, Gallagher added staff in sales and service. Gallagher said he's open to hiring industry veterans or newcomers.
"A new person doesn't have any bad habits to unlearn. But I'm definitely OK with an experienced person. I have no set policy if they're open to learning new ways," he said. "A lot depends on the interview. It depends on the energy they show."